She smiled fetchingly and threw her arms around me. She was so happy to have someone to hug. She was large, obese, kyphotic and almost bent double while edging slowly with her walker toward the examining room. She had sent a Christmas card and a birthday card, and I thanked her for them, while secretly praising myself for remembering she had sent them. She was diabetic and hypertensive and 88 years ...

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I never knew Jess Jacobs, and she never knew me.  Everything I know about her I have learned from her Twitter feed, her website, and articles written about her.  She was the same age as me when she died recently.  She was educated.  She knew the health care system inside and out, as an expert in insurance and policy and as a patient.  But she was ...

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Like all children, I looked forward to July and August. It was a magical time I daydreamed about through the winter months. Summer was a time of endless possibilities. No school, no deadlines, no stress.  The dreaded alarm clock was banished to the night table drawer. With no homework due, no papers to be written, and no tests looming, all that lay ahead was fun and relaxation. The hardest decision each ...

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The surgeon is doing a tonsillectomy on a 4-year-old boy. Dr. Jones drops an instrument on the floor of the OR. The instrument is now contaminated and has to be sterilized by a special machine called an autoclave. This was a small hospital, so they did not have a large inventory of duplicate surgical instruments. So the circulating nurse put the instrument into the autoclave. As this machine locked in ...

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In an article from the Pew Charitable Trusts, an upcoming scarcity of OB/GYNs in the U.S. is predicted with a potential shortage of 22,000 OB/GYNs by the year 2050. Reasons given for the shortage are a growing population, female OB/GYNs retiring early and working part-time, residents entering sub-specialties and changing physician attitudes about work-life balance. Suggestions in the article to combat the shortage are increasing OB/GYN residency spots and supporting ...

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Art explains medicine by explaining human needs. In December of 2015, Dr. Michael P. Jones wrote a piece that had 27K shares: "We’ve killed the way physicians should be." It is interpreted that 27K readers or more identified with what Dr. Jones wrote. In his essay, he claimed the identity of a physician was being "killed" by the reality of practice demands. The essay referenced an image of the ...

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Alvion Barr had a four-month delay in his diagnosis. He is technically a patient of my colleague. But he had drifted between two of our regular doctors and a locum tenens physician we hired to work during March, when both other doctors were on vacation. I saw him late Thursday afternoon for a rash, but he also asked what he could do about his heartburn. “Tell me more about your heartburn,” I said. What followed ...

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asco-logo I am sensitive to language and the way we use it in health care; as the editor of the Oncology Nursing Society’s premier research journal, the Oncology Nursing Forum, and as a sexuality counselor, words are my business and the tools I use to educate, inform, and disseminate knowledge. The conversation typically goes like this: Me: “Hello, can I speak with Mr./Ms. X ...

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The world can be a lonely place. Despite technology designed to bring us closer, it seems we've become more isolated. We view profiles rather than embrace complete individuals. We spend hours crafting a persona, a smooth and unblemished public face. Raw, unattractive emotions: grief, insecurity, jealousy. We mask those from others and even hide them from our deepest selves. Ultimately, rather than becoming more connected, I suspect we are cast ...

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Dear health insurance company, Let me set the scene for you.  It was a sunny August afternoon.  A young college woman with stars in her eyes and dreams of being a dentist came to my office.  She drove an hour to see me and would leave the next day for college. She was reasonably requesting that her implantable birth control be changed out so as to avoid pregnancy during her educational career.   ...

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